Gordon Wu versus environmentalists

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    From Hong Kong Standard:

    Despite Wus extraordinary accomplishments as a top builder, he did have his fair share of run-ins with environmental groups and residents of Wan Chai when he proposed his Mega Tower Hotel now known as Hopewell Centre II.

    Environmentalists and citizens objected to the massive scale of the project, a building that would be 93 stories and 355 meters high. After much lobbying and endless delays, lasting more than a decade, the building has been scaled down to 55 stories. It is expected to house 1,024 rooms and be completed by 2018.

    Indeed, environmental groups have always come in for some scathing criticism from Wu. He says, for instance, that one of the reasons why the government has been slow in granting land is because environmental groups object to everything.

    What's the main aim for environmental protection? he thunders. It is to protect human beings. Those environmental groups are crazy. You cant force everyone to like birds even though you like them, he said.

    He cited the protection of the Chinese White Dolphins by environmental groups, as an example, and said it is a joke.

    Back in the 1990s, these groups said that dolphins are an endangered species and they require protection. So the groups used over HK$100 million from taxpayers for a research project when the Chek Lap Kok airport was being built. But after construction, the number of Chinese White Dolphins actually increased, Wu said. [No: fallen by half!!]

    They [Chinese White Dolphins] will become extinct only if they are yummy, because the whole world will start catching them. How will something be endangered if it is not tasty? Will mice become endangered?

    Wu also said that the governments proposals to reclaim land faced objection by environmental groups every time.

    Where does land come from if Hong Kong doesnt reclaim? he queries. In the past, Hopewell Centre at Queens Road East was the seaside, and there was a shoal outside. Now Gloucester Road and Victoria Park sit on reclaimed land. Yau Ma Tei, Kwun Chung and West Kowloon are also reclaimed land. So how come we dont see Hong Kong becoming a place of disaster because of all the reclamation?

    Concrete character

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